BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild


Formed from rootstock humans in a similar way to their close kin, the lowhuts, Goblins were ancestrally terrorized by dragons. Nowadays goblins live in tight-knit authoritarian communies within caves and hewn fortresses, and they are ingrained with xenophobic tendencies. They are, however, very cunning, very disciplined, and quite interested in magic item engineering. They communicate with outsiders' research institutions, albiet under pseudonyms. Goblins rarely venture out among the "pretty folk", but they are firm allies to all humans in battle, and are true to their oaths if oaths can be extracted from them.  


  Goblin adventurers are either exiles or the descendants of exiles, or else are on assignment by their clan council. They are stout-hearted in battle, but have little strength of body, and so prefer either ranged combat or to be somewhere else. This isn't due to cowardice, but rather to pragmatism: it is wasteful to break a good tool by using it on the wrong task. As a race, goblins are highly fatalistic; almost suicidally so. This is a problem which party members often need to address in their goblin associates. When little 423l is gathering all the injured refugees to be euthanized to save on magic costs, it's not because he's evil. If 54k wants to just go ahead and die instead of seeking shelter from the dragon in a city, she's making a cost-benefit calculation on behalf of humanity and sticking to the result.    


In their early days, it is surmised that goblins were similar in behavior to lowhuts - small, skittish creatures which hid during the day and lived in fear of attack by immortals. However, due to geographic considerations, the ancestral goblin lineage seems to have been set upon by dragons instead of roving centaurs and gnomes. The goblins' origin was in the west of the Western continent, where the HMZs were so distantly scattered that only dragons bothered to dwell there. This different threat made lowhuts' style of low huts mostly useless, but didn't put as much day-to-day pressure on foragers. Thus, goblins were forced to make strong fastnesses to protect them from dragon attack, but were able to have a more constant activity pattern. The limited confines of their interconnected tunnel networks caused the goblins to rub shoulders constantly, effectively destroying any idea of privacy, and shortly pushed them to community-minded lives. The value of the individual being diminished, the clans became authoritarian, and becoming so, grew wary of outsiders. This led soon enough to the isolationist policies of their modern clans.  


Goblin clans or communes each inhabit an ancestral underground fortress, usually in a mountain somewhere outside established human lands. The peoples therein are community-minded to an unparalleled degree, so much that parents consolidate children into groups at about age one, and sort of raise them as a group. This frees up most of the parents to go back to work for the good of the clan, whether farming, forging, or burrowing out new dwelling chambers for their ever-growing progeny. The leadership in a hold is usually composed of the elderly, who have lost their utility in building or fighting, but whose experience recommends them to lead. From birth until death, goblins expect to work and suffer almost constantly. Laziness and selfishness are not tolerated.


Goblins have a conflicted reputation among other subraces. They are seen as prudish because of their strong cultural expectations for marital productivity and work ethic. However, stories of the whelp pens, which outsiders regard with distaste, adds to the image of goblins as unnatural rabbit-people with incomprehensible and often disgusting morals and habits. Partly due to this alienation, goblins are the only subrace which has fought open battles against the others on purely racial terms. Divisive feelings persist on both sides, and there is general animosity and distrust toward goblins even of inoffensive clans. Only lowhuts retain a bit of sympathy toward goblins, probably because of the way goblins feel like the red-headed stepchild of their line. Popular sayings about goblins include, "Trust a goblin as far as he can throw you," and "Do not throw a goblin or he'll kill your family and eat their ears."

Goblin Racial Traits

Goblins are allotted the following racial ability adjustments and perks:
  • Small size.
  • +2 Dex, +2 Int, -2 Str, -2 Cha.
  • +2 racial bonus on Stealth, Craft, Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device.
  • +4 bonus on Perception checks to hear or smell stuff.
  • +4 on saves to resist fear or mind-affecting effects.
  • Goblin Sleep (see below)
  • Cavesight (see below)
  • 30 foot movement speed.


  Goblin Sleep (Ex): Goblins are able and indeed prone to sleep anywhere, at any time, under any conditions, without any ill effect. This ability comes down from the fact that their societies often had to go to ground suddenly to avoid dragon encounters. Goblins have no set sleep cycle, and so catch winks whenever nothing is going on in order to be ready when time comes to be on the bounce. They're fine as long as they've had at least 8 hours of shuteye within the last 24 hours.   A goblin can always fall asleep at will, dropping straight into a complete and limp slumber. The sleep is so heavy that it requires a DC 15 Heal check or a DC 20 Perception check to notice that the goblin is even alive. They can mentally set a length of time before napping, and awaken after precisely that duration of rest without fail.   Goblin sleep imposes the Helpless condition, blindness, and a -4 on passive Perception checks to detect danger. However, a sleeping goblin who detects danger by sound, smell, or touch may immediately become wide awake, and is considered to have readied an action to either kill or escape the threat. This interrupts the threat's turn as usual, and the goblin can make a Standard action right away. A friend can wake their goblin companion with a Standard action, which is similarly interrupted. There's little chance the goblin mistakes his buddy for a threat. Little.   Finally, for purposes of daily abilities, if a goblin has snatched a total of 8 hours of shuteye since the last use of a daily ability or spell slot, that ability is ready for use again.  
Cavesight (Ex): Though the thousands of years since goblins began living in stone burrows and caves, goblins have developed a kind of weak echolocation. As they run along the pitch-black passageways of their mountain strongholds, they can deftly circumvent obstacles and reach their destinations by hearing alone. They normally emit a periodic clicking sound with the mouth while navigating so, a sound which their enemies come to call "The Crickets that Mean We are Going to Get Stabbed Oh Dear". As long as there is a significant noise level (at least equivalent in volume to a person speaking), a goblin can hear the positions and shapes of all walls, floors, and ceilings within 45 feet. She can also concentrate as a Move action to determine the sizes and positions of any obstacles of Medium size or larger within 20 feet, though she can't tell what they are. She determine whether each surface is hard like stone or soft like cloth or leaves.   This is not an evolved ability, but rather a skill which is developed by practice. A goblin can teach members of other subraces to use Cavesight as a feat, though for non-goblins, using the ability requires a DC25 Perception check.
Sample Goblin
Sample Goblin by Oogalook

Physical Characteristics

Average Height
Average Weight
35 lbs
Skin Colors
Pale, greyish to greenish
Eye Colors
Sorta pinkish, orange, or yellow
Average Lifespan
60 years

Preferred Classes

Wizard makes use of the goblin's intelligence and precision of mind.   Paladin suits goblins' innate sense of black-and-white morality. Since goblins are selfless, rigid, and fearless, they make great paladins for healing and protecting others. They're not strong enough to do much good with a spear, but they try it anyway.   Rogue makes use of a goblin's stealth and dexterity, and their lack of inhibitions about law-breaking and their attitudes on private property (which concept they can't wrap their heads around whatsoever).  

Naming Traditions

Names among goblins are alphanumeric procedural identifiers, giving first the family code and then the offspring letter ('a' for firstborn, 'b' for secondborn). "Pride names" are awarded for outstanding behavior: 71b "Coordinathan the Nine-Fingered", 221k "Screamy McShouting", 6188m "Skittering Small Irritation", 16f "Misty-Eyed Layabout"   Among outsiders, the use of pride names is considered pointless and conceited - they are more of an in-joke than a name. Instead, most goblins go by a slurred pronunciation of their number identifier, such as Twendy Threecy (23c) or Wono Wonby (101b). Some don't even bother, and just give people their number and forget about it.

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Cover image: by Oogalook


Please Login in order to comment!